by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com

Since entering the ranks of the UFC, middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been unstoppable. In two short years, he mowed down no less formidable opposition than Chris Leben, Travis Lutter, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, James Irvin, and Rich Franklin… twice. 

All of those victories in the Octagon pile on to an earlier resume that includes victories over Jorge Rivera, Lee Murray, Jeremy Horn, Carlos Newton, and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai.  

His armor is not impenetrable, however. Aside from a decision in his first pro MMA fight and a disqualification for using the right technique at the wrong time to knock out Yushin Okami, Silva has twice been submitted, once via triangle choke and another time from a flying scissor takedown into a heel hook. The latter is regarded as one of the more spectacular finishes in Pride history, if not all of MMA. 

Yet, there is no denying that the amazing development of his skills and a steamroller of confidence have propelled Anderson Silva to the upper echelon of one of the least forgiving sports in the world.  

It can be argued, but he has to be considered among the best fighters in the world. According to his boss, UFC president Dana White, there is no argument. There is no doubt. There is only Anderson Silva… and he stands alone. 

“In my opinion, (he’s) the best fighter in the world. I don’t care if it’s boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts, or pinochle. I don’t care what it is; this guy is the best fighter in the world… Anderson Silva,” said White on Thursday as he introduced his middleweight champion and his UFC 90 challenger, Patrick “The Predator” Cote. 

Of course White is biased, he is the man charged with promoting Silva. Still, there is no denying that, biased or not, White believes what he says, even if Silva himself is less than willing to agree. 

“No the best fighter in the world,” said Silva in his broken, but much improved, English on Thursday.  “Next, fight Cote. Then… maybe.” 

White will have none of it. “He argues with me about being the best fighter in the world. That’s what he was saying. ‘I don’t think I’m the best fighter in the world, maybe after I beat Cote.'” Grinning, he then turns to Silva, “Deal with it.” 

There has been a lot of talk lately about a goal that Silva set for himself long ago, that he intends to retire at age 35. That’s not too far off for the 33-year-old. He has six fights left on his current UFC contract and at the pace he fights, he could easily fulfill that term in time to meet his goal, should he choose to honor it.  

White may not make it that easy on the man he considers the pound for pound best, not that Silva would want him too. It seems White has future challenges in mind, should Silva get past Cote. 

“This guy wants to challenge himself so much he’ll fight at 185, defend his title. He wants to jump up to 205, fight at 205. He wants to keep the 185-pound belt, keep going back and forth,” relayed White. “We’re talking about a guy who’s defending his belt again on Saturday and should he win is probably two fights away from fighting for the light heavyweight title, too.” 

That most definitely is not just hype from the UFC prez. Though he usually eschews fighters skipping around weight classes, Silva has earned an exception. “He wants to hold both the 185- and the 205-pound belt and he wants to defend them both. Normally I won’t let guys do stuff like that because it’s just� stupid. I’ll let Anderson Silva do it.” 

It wasn’t too long ago that, in his humble manner that knows no linguistic barrier, Silva avoided questions of challenging for the light heavyweight title currently held by Forrest Griffin. His thoughts on capturing a second title seem to have changed though.  

Asked what he thought of White’s comment that he is “probably two fights away from” a light heavyweight title shot and if he would like to add a second belt to his collection, Silva responded only with, “Of course,” as a huge grin consumed his face, displaying the sly confidence that could dim the fire in the eyes of The Predator come Saturday night.